Even with our country’s downward trend of daily positive Covid-19 cases and the peak now seemingly behind us, Malaysia is not fit for an MCO lift just yet as many issues still need to be addressed, says senior consultant paediatrician, Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS.
Of all the criteria listed out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which need to be taken into consideration before a possible MCO lift, Malaysia is still lacking in four aspects, mainly:
- Testing and screening
- Health system capacity
- Contact Tracing
- Community’s mindset
“I do not believe that the general public has fully grasped and adopted all the necessary preventive measures, such as social distancing, to stop the spread of Covid-19. We cannot only have 50 per cent to 70 per cent of people who are compliant”, said the former head of the paediatric department at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh, Perak, as reported by Malay Mail.
According to WHO, the aspects that need to be met before this restricted order is lifted must include the fulfillment of:
- Transmission under control
- Health systems are able to detect, test, isolate and treat every case, trace every contact
- Hot spot risks are minimised in vulnerable places (e.g. nursing homes, schools, workplaces, other essential places)
- The risk of importing new cases can be managed
- Communities are fully educated, engagement and empowered to live under a new normal
Unfortunately, it seems as though Dr Amar feels that Malaysians are lacking in the most important aspect: community’s mindset.
“To stop the spread of this disease, according to WHO, almost all of society must abide by these measures and take responsibility. I don’t think the public has fully understood this,” said the medical expert during a webinar session organised by Science Media Centre (SMC) Malaysia and Malaysia Health Coalition (MHC) on Saturday (25th April).
“What we have yet to understand is that although it is under control, people are still being infected, which means the virus is still spreading from one person to another in our society. If we are not careful, the virus will continue to spread and there will be an even larger second and third wave,” said Dr Amar, commenting that the new 33 cases of Covid-19 among patients with influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections prove that the virus is still spreading within the community.
Nonetheless, Dr Amar also took the opportunity to address guidelines produced by the National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC), which train teachers and parents on the importance of social distancing:
“I cannot imagine 40 students sitting in a classroom with one teacher. That is very dangerous. It is unlikely that the disease will be fatal for children nor will they fall severely ill, but they could carry the infection to their parents and grandparents.”
Looks like we have ways to go before we see the end of this MCO. What do you guys think?
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